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NFC East free agency preview

It’s offseason championship season

Super Bowl LII - Philadelphia Eagles v New England Patriots Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

The new league year and free agency start on Wednesday, with “legal tampering” beginning today. Let’s take a look around the NFC East to see what teams have been up to and are about to do or not do.

Philadelphia Eagles

What’s happened since the season ended?

They had a parade for winning the Super Bowl. That’s what you get to do when you win the Super Bowl. Which the Eagles did.

They also traded some spare parts for Michael Bennett, who would have been 4th in sacks and 2nd in hurries in the NFC East last season. Then they traded Torrey Smith, who was going to be let go for nothing, for Daryl Worley, who has more starts (25) than years alive (23). They could have traded Smith for country music recording artist Darryl Worley and it would have been better than nothing. And when I wake up in the morning I might have to update this after Howie Roseman does something like trading Isaac Seumalo for uh *looks at what’s left of the Browns roster* Josh Gordon and a draft pick. The rich are getting richer.

Do they have a lot of cap space?

lol, no, they’re over the cap

What roster holes must they address in free agency?

Not much. The defending Super Bowl winners are or will be missing two starters as Torrey Smith is already gone and Nigel Bradham is not expected to be back. Bringing in some cheap ring hunting veterans at those positions along with possibly safety, tight end, offensive tackle, and defensive tackle to at least not force their hand on draft day would be wise, but they can wait out the herd for those kind of players, like they did last year with LeGarrette Blount, Chris Long and Patrick Robinson. This team has the shortest list of needs in the NFL, and they’re the defending Super Bowl champions. They’ll probably do what they did last year and acquire a bunch of guys that the coaching staff or front office previously worked with, meaning that the Eagles title contending window will shut in a few years when they run out of familiar faces to sign or trade for.

Dallas Cowboys

What’s happened since the season ended?

Nobody really knows. The Cowboys said they didn’t go to the Senior Bowl so that they could spend the time evaluating their own players, apparently they’re the only team that can’t do both. But at the Combine they said they hadn’t gotten around to evaluating their own players. What were they doing? Did they get stuck in a Wikipedia hole or on YouTube going through 90s one hit wonders? (Depending on your tastes I suggest starting with “If You Could Only See” by Tonic or “Unsung” by Helmet.) Have they done any work on free agents or are they going to wind up with the NFL’s version of Luther Blissett?

They did get around to franchise tagging DeMarcus Lawrence, who had 4 sacks in his last 9 games.

Oh yeah and Jerry Jones, on the orders of his fellow owners, had to pay the NFL $2M in legal fees for wasting everyone’s time and the NFL’s money by dragging out the Ezekiel Elliott suspension. So not all of the rich got richer.

There was some good news though, as the league said that if the 2014 Cowboys-Packers playoff game (that ended with the Packers taking three knees in field goal range to end the game) was played in 2018—which would be really weird—that Dez Bryant’s drop would be a catch. Congratulations.

Do they have a lot of cap space?

After tagging Lawrence, they have $3M in cap space according to Over The Cap. They will open up some when they work out a long term deal. To make even more room they can do what they always do and convert salary into bonus money for a player or two and create salary cap problems later. They’ll probably do that. They can also drop Dez Bryant, which they should do once they finally get around to evaluating their own players.

What roster holes must they address in free agency?

They need a left guard, a bunch of WRs even if they keep Bryant, and as always some people who can play defense: some DLs, some LBs, some DBs. That’s a lot of holes for a team that thinks it’s a Super Bowl contender.

Washington Redskins

What’s happened since the season ended?

They traded for Alex Smith.

Do they have a lot of cap space?

They sure do! Over The Cap says they have $48M, which is the 7th most this year.

What roster holes must they address in free agency?

Doesn’t matter. Dan Snyder is back at it, which should mean that they’ll be active, but actually addressing roster issues has usually been a low priority for the Redskins.

New York Giants

What’s happened since the season ended?

They hired Pat Shurmur, last seen having his offense completely dismantled by a division rival. They traded for Alec Ogletree, giving them their first real life linebacker in about a decade, though, so that’s something. That should help them against Carson Wentz.

Or not. Perhaps the release of Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, who had zero (0) interceptions last year, will help too.

Do they have a lot of cap space?

After the Ogletree trade and Rodgers-Cromartie release, they’re at $20.5M in cap space, which is 22nd in the league according to Over The Cap.

What roster holes must they address in free agency?

They need a new roster. Eli Manning is 37, the team doesn’t like Odell Beckham, and other than Evan Engram and an out of position Justin Pugh, the rest of their offense that they actually like stinks. On defense they need help everywhere even after the Ogletree trade, though perhaps not having Steve Spagnuolo calling plays is enough to make them respectable.